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Migrant Crisis Escalates on Polish-Belarusian Border; One Year Anniversary of Tigrayan Conflict; COP26 Climate Talks; Biden Honors NBA Champs Milwaukee Bucks at the White House. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 09, 2021 - 10:00   ET




BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): As war ravages Ethiopia, I speak to the prime minister's spokeswoman about what the government wants next. Live

from Addis Ababa this hour.

And human pawns, thousands of migrants amassing at the European Union's doorstep. Poland reinforces its eastern border, accusing Belarus of

manufacturing a crisis.

Plus after six months in space, the SpaceX Dragon crew is back, from growing chili peppers to conducting space walks. We'll look at the highs

and the lows.


ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. It is 7:00 in the evening here in Abu Dhabi.

We begin this hour in Ethiopia, a country rich in history and culture, caught in the midst of a deadly civil conflict. It wasn't supposed to be

like this. Three years ago, when Abiy Ahmed was appointed as the prime minister, there was hope he would deliver on his promise and bring about


"War," he said and I quote, "is the epitome of hell."

In the beginning, he looked like he would deliver. He helped end the two- decade war with Eritrea, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But today, he is overseeing a deadly conflict that has pushed millions of

Ethiopians into urgent humanitarian need.

The fight is between the central government and rebel forces of the TPLF, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front for those of you at home, along with

eight other armed groups.

They say they are fighting what they call the genocidal regime of Ethiopia. The prime minister says they are a threat to the sovereignty and interests

of the country. The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting on Monday, during which a top U.N. official says the next step may be civil



ROSEMARY DICARLO, U.N. UNDERSECRETARY-GENERAL: No one can predict what continued fighting and insecurity will bring. But let me be clear: what is

certain is that the risk of Ethiopia descending into a civil war is all too real. That would bring about a humanitarian catastrophe and consume the

future of such an important country.


ANDERSON: Those calls are falling on deaf ears. And the situation, it seems, get worse. Witnesses tell CNN those atrocities include police in the

capital, rounding up breast-feeding mothers and the elderly, simply because they are Tigrayan.

Well, for its part, the Ethiopian government says it is taking on the TPLF to protect its citizens.

My next guest tweeting, "Dispensing constitutional responsibilities to avert the threat of terrorists and insurgent groups that have chosen to

take up arms over partaking in democratic processes remains key."

And the prime minister's press secretary is joining us now from Addis Ababa.

It has been a year -- and thank you for joining us -- it has been a year since the start of the conflict, yet we are seeing armed groups fighting

your government, increasing its numbers as they advance toward the capital.

What is happening on the ground and how far are the TPLF and other allies from Addis Ababa?

BILLENE SEYOUM, ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER'S PRESS SECRETARY: Becky, thank you so much for having me. Before I answer your question, it would be quite

disingenuous of me to respond to your question without first addressing the big elephant in the room.

It is important for me to share with you as well as your global audience that if Europeans, the majority of Europeans in Ethiopia as well as abroad

strongly feel that CNN has covered the conflict over the past year in a manner that is highly biased and detached from context.

And a recent example is the hysteria that CNN had caused last week, as if Addis Ababa was under siege, sending a global message that the city is

about to go down. We have often shared that it seems Ethiopia is undergoing what seems like a coordinated media campaign to tarnish the image of the

country, to tarnish the image of the prime minister and his administration.


SEYOUM: And media outlets like CNN, "The New York Times," "The Washington Post" and Reuters in particular as well as others have often chosen to

carry an overly negative and skewed narrative, missing important nuances.

And I reiterate this to you because I also heard the opening lines --


ANDERSON: All right.

SEYOUM: -- takes away or is devoid of assigning the actual blame where it is, assigning the blame to the TPLF, that initiated this conflict. And they

have also given testimony and confessed that they're the ones that attacked the northern command of the National Diverse Defense Forces.



ANDERSON: Let me just -- let me respond to your words because I've given you a chance to say your bit.

Our work, our reporting was conducted carefully and methodically by CNN's highly experienced team in the region and elsewhere. We stand by its

findings as well as the language used in our reporting, which we believe is fully justified.

Here's a question to you.

There are a number of media organizations, including CNN, currently in Ethiopia, who are not being allowed to report, not being granted

accreditation from the government.

What is the reason for that and why?

Why, if you want the story told, are you not allowing those organizations, including CNN, to try to do their work?

SEYOUM: That is a disinformation that is being perpetrated, Becky. And I dare say this because I also did --


ANDERSON: Oh, hold on, hold on. Hold on. We wanted to have -- you -- what is this disinformation?

We have a team, trying to get to work on the ground. Hang on.


ANDERSON: But don't accuse us of disinformation.

Are you suggesting that we don't have a team that is trying to report on the ground, with respect?

SEYOUM: Your team is on the ground but your team did not come into the country or some members of your team did not come into the country by

following the due process.

I was informed -- or some members of the government were informed of CNN being on the ground and asking for accreditation. The accreditation process



ANDERSON: Are you prepared to have them work on the ground and get accredited so that they can tell the story?

SEYOUM: You would have to allow me to finish. This is not a hostile environment --


SEYOUM: -- so many other media entities that entered the country. There are other media entities that have requested and been facilitated entry

into the country, into the region that they wanted to cover these stories at.

However, for the amount of blame that the Ethiopian government is, you know, admonished, for not allowing media, you never hear about the media

that actually do enter, report.

And don't hear about the media entities that have been granted accreditation but their own headquarters tell them not to actually enter

the country. So these are also, you know, stories that need to be at the forefront.

ANDERSON: OK. Let's try and get to the bottom of what is going on here because everybody wants the best for Ethiopia. I know you will agree with

that. Certainly we're just trying to get our work done and get to the bottom of what's going on. So let's do this.

U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres has called for unrestricted access to Tigray, to Amhara and Afar, saying that no convoys with supplies had

entered Tigray since October the 18th.

I have heard this from numerous agency sources.

What will it take for the Ethiopian government to facilitate access and end what the U.N. has called a manmade crisis?

Let's start with that and then we'll get into the politics.

SEYOUM: Sure. Becky, you know, humanitarian concerns are equally as important for the Ethiopian government. So to portray that the government

as a demagogue with no interest in the well-being of its own people throughout the country is erroneous.

And that's not right. That is why it has invested up to $100 billion in humanitarian assistance and infrastructure repair works in the Tigray


Until the national defense forces had withdrawn out of the Tigray region, the end of June 2021, the Ethiopian government had allocated or was

covering up to 70 percent of humanitarian assistance.

After the exit of the national defense forces, the onus of responsibility on humanitarian access reaching the intended beneficiaries within the

Tigray region is on the TPLF. There has been -- what we have witnessed after the humanitarian cease-fire that was enacted by the government is

encroachment by the TPLF into the Tigrayan Amhara --

ANDERSON: With respect, that is not -- that is not -- that is not the evidence of what our teams have seen on the ground nor the evidence that I

am being given by agencies, who are still on the ground. They are -- the access isn't available. And that access isn't -- it may be from the TPLF

side as well. But the Ethiopian government is not -- is not helping.




SEYOUM: There may have been bureaucratic, cumbersome processes and, in fact, at the beginning of the complaint from the international humanitarian

assistant partners was that there were so many checkpoints.

So the checkpoints from my understanding at the beginning, which were seven, have been decreased, heeding to the complaints that were being

launched by humanitarian actors.

And the reason for the Ethiopian government to put these humanitarian checkpoints in place is also for the safety of its people within the Afar

and Amhara region that are on the borders of where TPLF had been active and also was trying to encroach upon, which they eventually did.

Now I think it is also important that, for many months now, we have been facilitating every effort, including those by the U.N., to get the food and

aid to those in need. However, the TPLF has also been lying about this and politicizing and weaponizing humanitarian assistance.

We have seen reports as well from the USAID, are saying that some of the humanitarian assistance was being directed to fighters instead of those

beneficiaries. We have over 800 --


SEYOUM: -- that have entered the region.

Why are we not asking those questions as well?

We have seen these --

ANDERSON: And I'm giving you the opportunity to -- hang on. Hang on. I'm giving you the opportunity to put your side here. I'm also just making the

point that I'm not -- this isn't coming from the TPLF. I'm talking about the fact that humanitarian aid is being prevented from getting in.

I'm being told this by humanitarian agencies. The WFP has had tanker after tanker after tanker held up, which has got fuel, essential fuel, to get to

the people in need.

Let's do the politics here because the politics lie behind what is going on here. Prime Minister Ahmed has called on Ethiopians to be -- hold on,

please. Prime minister Ahmed has called on Ethiopians to be ready to defend the capital. You know that to be true.

What does this mean?

And is an armed solution the right solution at this point?

SEYOUM: OK, so the prime minister calling upon the Ethiopian people to defend their city, to defend their communities, to defend their country is

supplanting or supporting the government's responsibility and constitutionally mandated responsibility to thwart off any attacks, any

terrorist attacks.

As you know, the TPLF and their partners have been deemed or designated by the house of people's representatives in a constitutionally and in

Ethiopian constantly clear process, designated as terrorist organizations.

So you are seeing the referry (ph) coming from the other side, saying we're going to take over Addis Ababa. There is going to be a siege under -- of

the capital. With all this narrative building up, it's important for everybody to be aware and to be alert. So this is not --


SEYOUM: -- the prime minister to arm everybody and, you know, descend into civil chaos. But this is about being vigilant in their communities, that

this kind of threat --


SEYOUM: -- which is overtly (INAUDIBLE) by the TPLF is upon us.

ANDERSON: The prime minister also said, and I quote him here, "We will bury this enemy with our blood and bones and make the glory of Ethiopia

high again," calling on citizens to take up arms and, quote, "bury the terrorist TPLF."

This is very heavy rhetoric from a leader. And it doesn't sound from that as if there is any room for the Ethiopian government to talk to the TPLF.

Look, Facebook removed the prime minister's posts.

How can Ethiopia unite under this current prime minister, when he continues to use language inciting violence against particular ethnic groups?

SEYOUM: That has been the perspective of CNN. The Ethiopian government ran the first --

ANDERSON: I just quoted what the prime minister said in a Facebook post, that was then removed by Facebook for inciting violence.

SEYOUM: You need to let me explain. You need to let me explain.


SEYOUM: We are testing the removal of this post by Facebook because we do not feel that it is as alarmist as Facebook has. Now there is other context

for these global corporations and global entities --

ANDERSON: What part of this -- what part of that post do you not see as alarmist, do you not see as --

SEYOUM: Can I finish?

ANDERSON: -- as inciting?

I'm asking you -- I'm literally asking you a very simple question there.

SEYOUM: (INAUDIBLE) language. The prime minister is not asking people to go and attack their counterparts and their brothers and sisters. There has

been a clear pathway from the prime minister from the beginning, that he came to the administration asking for peace, asking for unity throughout

the country.

There have been several, several attempts by the TPLF and the war drums that have been beating up (sic) before the November 2020 altercation.

Through all of that, the federal government, championed and spearheaded by the prime minister, has been very clear that we did not want this to

descend into where it is right now.


SEYOUM: So calling upon the Ethiopian people to defend themselves, calling upon the Ethiopian people to protect themselves should not be seen in that

negative light. Some voices within the hariq (ph) language maybe or evenly (ph), if you're splitting hair, can be taken to mean other things.

But there is no clear call for violence on each other. What the prime minister and the government -- the federal government of Ethiopia are

asking is for all to be vigilant, that the threat of TPLF is there because they are saying they want to take over, they want to attempt a coup and

they want to topple a government, a legitimately elected government --


ANDERSON: Billene, I think, you know what was written in that post was unequivocal. Look, he -- prime minister Ahmed described war -- and I quote

him here -- "as the epitome of hell" during his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Now he's presiding over a protracted civil war, effectively.

And by the way, how concerned are you that this is going to get worse and this will ultimately become a civil war?

Perhaps we're not there yet. But it looks as if we could be.

What will it take to stop this?

SEYOUM: That is not true. So again, facts and the way that the narrative is being shaped by your media as well is important because that's not the

case. The prime minister --

ANDERSON: So how would you describe it?

SEYOUM: -- to thwart off any attacks on the state, on the integrity of the state as well. The constitution, if you're willing to go through it,

declares that and puts that as a responsibility (INAUDIBLE) on the prime minister.

The TPLF is an organ that has been designated by our house of people's representatives as a terrorist organization. If the TPLF, if you remember,

in end of June 2021, when there was a unilateral humanitarian cease-fire that was enacted, the opportunity for peace was there.

The opportunity -- this unilateral cease-fire that was taken by the government was paying heed to the suffering of our own people. And we need

to also acknowledge that the people of Tigray are our own people as well.

So heeding to the pains that they're undergoing because of the criminal tendencies and the power grab that is being pushed by a small criminal

enterprise in a small clique, acknowledging that the --


SEYOUM: -- was considered a job by the TPLF. And (INAUDIBLE) is encroaching into other regions, looting properties, destructing (sic)

properties, killing civilians, raping women and children as well. So this needs to be thwarted. He has a responsibility to --

ANDERSON: And I'm giving you -- I am giving you the opportunity to put your side to us today and to our viewers, of course. And it has been a long

time that we have been hoping to have this conversation. And so I am glad that you are -- that you've been prepared to come on the show today and

have this discussion.

As you rightly point out, Tigrayans are Ethiopians. So since the state of emergency has been imposed, witnesses tell CNN that Tigrayans are being

ethnically targeted and arrested by authorities.

Ethiopia's state-appointed human rights commission says the arrests are happening on reasonable grounds, as the detainees are suspected of

collaborating with terrorist groups.

Is there any proof of that?

SEYOUM: I mean, we have -- this is a state of emergency or something that was enacted last week. So I would need to get further details in terms of

the way that it is being implemented.

But the enactment of the state of emergency is not to target any particular person based on the identity that they are aligned to. The state of

emergency is put in place to protect the Ethiopian people, to protect the residents of Addis Ababa, who have been told with very, very fierce

rhetoric, coming from the TPLF, that we're going to siege or we're going to come into Addis Ababa.

So it is important for the state of emergency to put in place a mechanism that anybody that is trying to threaten the stability or the peace that is

within the capital city is thoroughly addressed as well.

So the details that you're asking (INAUDIBLE) is something in the pipeline. I may come back to you at another point in --

ANDERSON: Well, the government has declared a state of emergency, reflecting the rapid escalation of this conflict that ultimately -- it

threatens to tear apart Ethiopia and further destabilize the Horn of Africa.

Your government has urged foreign powers to stand with Ethiopia's democracy. You do not have the support of Washington, for example, which,

just this week, accused Ethiopia of gross human rights breaches; instead, that it planned to remove the country from an important trade pact.

What is the government's message to Washington?

Who are you speaking to here?

And just describe how you feel about the response from the international community at this point.

SEYOUM: I mean, Becky, let me just back track a little bit and address something that you said this. This is not first time that a state of

emergency has been enacted within the country.


SEYOUM: So we shouldn't use this point to exaggerate things more than they are and to create an alarmist environment because that's what a lot of

international media have created.

Going to your second question, the engagement with the U.S. is still constructive. We look for a very constructive engagement. The U.S., the

United States has been a strong ally of Ethiopia for a very long time and Ethiopia has also been a bastion of stability --


ANDERSON: And they have described Ethiopia as an important partner. But that partner is not a constructive partner (INAUDIBLE). I spoke to Samantha

Power about this just yesterday.

Just yesterday, you lose the support of Washington. You lose the incredibly important trade pact that is there. Officials are sanctioned.

What sort of impact will that have on Ethiopia's economy, with respect, and the people of Ethiopia?

And isn't it time to push for a cease-fire and to sort this thing out?

Your response?

SEYOUM: Becky, the humanitarian cease-fire was already in place. Remember, the TPLF brandished it as a joke. So I'm not entirely sure what you're

talking about further other than that.

With regards to the U.S., there is constructive engagement that we're looking for. And if this constructive engagement needs to be rooted in the

context and understanding of the complexity of what is unfolding, the same with the international community.

We need the U.S. and the international community's support to defend democracy, justice and the people of Ethiopia. And I say to defend

democracy because, for first time in Ethiopia's modern history, we underwent the first democratic elections.

It may not be perfect in the eyes of the U.S. and it may not be perfect in the eyes of the international community but it -- the best that Ethiopia

has come across. And these are building blocks for the democratization process that we have embarked upon in 2018.

Are they painful?

Very painful.


SEYOUM: You know, it is facilitating a segue for something more solid and foundational to come?

Yes. But we still need that because this is a democratically and legitimately elected government and the prime minister --

ANDERSON: The Ethiopian government faces huge criticism at present. And there are calls, from pretty much everywhere at this point, for a cease-

fire. So you're right to point out that there was the bones of the humanitarian cease-fire at one point. But there are calls now for a full


Briefly tell me, what do you expect will happen next at this point?

SEYOUM: You know, this is something that Ethiopia has been preparing for in terms of facilitating a peaceful conclusion to this really troublesome

chapter. Ethiopia already committed to enabling an all-inclusive dialogue.

That is in that addressing all political conversations and the institutions and processes that are being laid out for that national dialogue to take

place and such details will emerge accordingly.

But we believe that this process needs to be Ethiopian-informed and the nature -- and this nature we produce positive results, meaning stability

and peace. This all-inclusive national dialogue is something in the pipeline.

ANDERSON: With that, we will leave it there. We have been pushing to speak to the prime minister. I've wanted to get the Ethiopian government's

perspective now for some time. I do appreciate your time today. It is important that we have this discussion.

I would like to speak to the prime minister. So that invitation is there if you would like to, please, take that to him. I think it would be important

for the international community, the rest of the world, the viewers, who will be watching the show today and at this time every day, they would like

to hear from the prime minister as well.


ANDERSON: So we thank you very much indeed for joining us.

In the next hour, I'll talk to Getachew Reda. He is the spokesman for the Tigray People's Liberation Front. That is coming up on CONNECT THE WORLD

next hour.

And unless we forget, let's just remember that this has been a year, a year this conflict. And tens of thousands -- hundreds of thousands of people in

Ethiopia's lives are at stake as a result of what is going on. Well, coming up.

Increased alarm and warnings from both sides of a tense border confrontation. We'll find out where the migrant crisis stands at this hour

on the border of Poland and Belarus. That's coming up after this.





ANDERSON: Leaders at COP26 climate talks have been touting their achievements so far -- a deforestation commitment, a plan to stop investing

in fossil fuel projects abroad, a net zero pledge. But critics say these promises will not create real change. Listen to what one North American

indigenous leader said.


Why don't they just say zero?

TOM GOLDTOOTH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NORTH AMERICAN INDIGENOUS ENVIRONMENTAL NETWORK: Why don't they use the term "real solutions and real reduction"?

What does this "net" mean?

For us and our analysis is that it opens the door again to these false solutions that the government, especially industrialized governments of the

North, the European Union, U.K., United States, Canada, China -- they use it as a form of greenwash.


ANDERSON: Just in case the words are not making enough of an impact, here is something more visual, climate activists impersonating world leaders.

On the left is China's Xi Jinping and in the middle a remarkably cheerful Boris Johnson, splashing in the water. Well, you get it. They're all in a

sinking ship unless there is real climate action. Joining us tomorrow for the -- join us tomorrow for the first-ever Call to Earth Day.

CNN partnering with schools, individuals and organizations around the world to raise awareness of environmental issues. It will be a day of action,

dedicated to conservation, environmentalism and sustainability.

And the show that follows this hour will be a special show from Expo 2020 Dubai, from the Earth stage there. And you can follow us online and on TV,

follow the #CallToEarth on social media.

Up next --


ANDERSON (voice-over): A flash, a splash and a lot of cheering. After six months away, guess who is back home?

But the trip back to Earth was not without a big glitch.






ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. It is half past 7:00. There you go, my teeth back in.

NATO's secretary-general is standing with Poland, calling actions of the Belarus government unacceptable.


ANDERSON (voice-over): Poland is bracing for further escalation along its eastern border with Belarus, where thousands of migrants, seen here, are

trying to force their way into the country. The Polish prime minister says the security of the entire European Union is at stake.

Poland has deployed more than 9,000 soldiers to defend its border. NATO also says it is ready to step in. The U.N. Refugee Agency says it is very

alarmed by the situation. Polish authorities and European officials accuse Belarus of encouraging migrants to cross illegally into Poland and its

other E.U. neighbors, in retaliation for sanctions imposed on Minsk in June.

The government of the Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, has repeatedly denied that it is manufacturing a migrant crisis and Belarus is

warning Poland against what it calls provocations against the unarmed migrants.


ANDERSON: Well, CNN international correspondent Frederik Pleitgen joins us live from Berlin.

Fred, it does appear that things are getting very tense along that border. Rhetoric from the two countries -- NATO and the E.U. wading in -- this does

bear interrogating just what the E.U.'s migration process itself is.

But what is the latest there on the border?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly still is, you're absolutely right, Becky, an extremely tense situation; I

think, also one that most definitely is not going to go away anytime soon.

Of course, also one that becomes more dangerous as each day passes, as winter draws closer, as things get colder there on the border as well.

The situation you have now, according to what Poland is saying and certainly some of the images we're seeing from the Belarusian side as well,

is that there are thousands of migrants camped out at that border, where Poland says they're not going to let them pass because they believe that

those migrants are there because they were lured there by Alexander Lukashenko to try and blackmail the European Union and Poland specifically.

Here's what we're learning.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): Camped out under harsh conditions in the freezing cold. Poland says around 4,000 migrants are now at its border with Belarus,

trying to enter the E.U. Warsaw vows it will not let them pass.

ANDRZEJ DUDA, POLISH PRESIDENT (through translator): It is a matter of fulfilling our duties as members of the European Union as well as ensuring

the safety of Polish citizens and the Polish republic.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Poland says it has deployed around 12,000 forces to the border as the large group of migrants repeatedly tried to push through

into E.U. territory on Monday.

The European Union accuses Belarusian strongman and president Alexander Lukashenko of luring people, mostly from Iraq and Syria, to Belarus and

using Belarusian security forces to bring them to the border.

While Minsk denies the allegations, European leaders call this state- sponsored human trafficking. Poland's prime minister even using the term "hybrid war" as he visited the border region.

MATEUSZ MORAWIECKI, POLISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Lukashenko's regime uses civilians as weapons of a hybrid war.


MORAWIECKI: What we can see today are new methods and new (ph) are a key bastion against them.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): The majority of those who do make it into the E.U. want to go to Germany, German authorities say.

We were on hand as a group of new arrivals was being processed in Frankfurt an der Oder at the German-Polish border. German authorities are now beefing

up their presence here.

PLEITGEN: The German police has drastically stepped up checks here at the border with Poland and they say they're increasingly coming across people

looking to claim asylum in this country and that the vast majority of the people came into the European Union via Belarus.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): Germany says it is redeploying forces from across the country to help out.

"The federal police has sent several hundred officers to the entire German- Polish border," this spokesperson says.

"We did that to increase patrols but also to help processing the migrants as well."

Both Germany and Poland believe the situation won't ease anytime soon, with thousands pinned up against the border at severe risk, as winter draws



PLEITGEN: And Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko had a phone conversation today with his biggest backer, that being Russian president

Vladimir Putin. And afterwards, both sides said they were concerned about what they called the escalating situations there, that they say Poland is

causing. Becky?

ANDERSON: Yes, and UNHCR calling on the states involved in this to ensure that the safety and human rights of migrants and refugees are upheld. There

are politics afoot here.

But ultimately there are also people's lives at stake, aren't there?

Thank you.

Europe once again in the grip of the long, dark night of COVID-19. A surge in cases has pushed the continent back to where it never wanted to be, the

epicenter of the pandemic, as the World Health Organization warns that half a million Europeans could die from coronavirus this winter.

Denmark is wondering whether to bring back restrictions. Only two months ago, it was saying COVID was no longer, quote, "a critical threat to


Germany, meanwhile, frantic to get more booster shots into more arms after its infection rate touched a new high. And just a few hours from now,

France will hear from its president, president Emmanuel Macron, about his plans to rein in what they see as a galloping outbreak.

Still to come, these astronauts had to endure a special challenge on their way home from space.

And the world champs meet the leader of the free world, the intersection of sports and politics in just a moment.





ANDERSON: After six months in space, four astronauts now back on the ground today. The crew took a SpaceX capsule from the International Space

Station back to Earth, splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico.

The crew included two Americans and French and Japanese astronauts. The new crew for the ISS could take off as early as Wednesday, depending on the

weather. Space correspondent Kristin Fisher joining us now.

These flights to and from space, quite frankly, have become almost routine. There were some challenges on this flight home, as I understand it.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE & DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, two challenges to be specific, Becky. The one that everybody is talking about is the fact

that the toilets on the Crew Dragon spacecraft were essentially out of order for the entire nine-hour trip back to Earth.

This was a problem that SpaceX first noticed on a different Crew Dragon capsule, one that had already returned back to Earth. And they noticed that

there was a problem with -- how should I put this -- the urine collection tube. It had essentially come unglued.

And wasn't spewing its contents inside the capsule but it was releasing its contents on the underbelly of the capsule, away from where the crew is. It

wasn't causing any issues and, by all accounts, this crew true (ph) -- crew to (ph) -- spacecraft could likely have returned to Earth just fine.

But out of an abundance of caution, SpaceX and NASA decided not to let the astronauts use that toilet. So they either had to hold it or rely upon the

undergarments, as NASA is describing them, that are built into their spacesuits. We might call them diapers but, believe it or not, this is

something that NASA astronauts actually train for.

It's something astronauts have been dealing with since the beginning of human space flight. You're trapped, you're strapped to these rockets for

long periods of time. And when you got to go, you got to go.

So the NASA astronauts on crew 2 described this situation as suboptimal but that they weren't too worried about it. Now we have crew 3 slated to launch

tomorrow evening, if the weather holds.

ANDERSON: Detail's always important, isn't it?

Thank you.

In a time honored presidential tradition, the NBA champions visited the White House on Monday. President Biden welcoming the Milwaukee Bucks and

their Greek MVP. The Bucks are actually the first NBA team to visit since the Obama administration.

Remember, previous champions declined to attend while Donald Trump was in office. Amanda Davies is here with "WORLD SPORT."

Looks like a happy gathering.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I was about to say, Becky, there's certainly less controversy around these visits than there were with the

previous administration.

This the first set of NBA champions to visit the White House since 2016. And a really fantastic story, with Giannis, his brother also a Bucks

player; Thanasis was there, so that is the three brothers to have all gone to the White House -- or not gone to the White House -- all celebrating

being NBA champions.

Kostas with the Lakers in 2020 didn't get to visit the White House. A really fabulous video from Giannis, practicing how he was going to greet

the president. So a fantastic story there. But it was Steph Curry and the Warriors who were stealing the headlines in terms of on the courts on

Monday night. And that's what's coming up.

ANDERSON: Excellent. More on that after the break with Amanda.

We'll be back after that. Stay with us.